COMMENT: Is it your child?

Parents need to hold on to their children while crossing the street
Parents need to hold on to their children while crossing the street

While we all hope our partners will be truthful when it comes to the parentage of our children, the reality is – sometimes you just cannot be so sure.

Parentage testing is an important and powerful tool.

In circumstances where there could be a dispute regarding parentage, we recommend the use of parentage testing to determine early on if you should be required to pay child support or whether you have standing in a parenting matter (that is, whether you have the right to participate in proceedings).

When can the court order paternity testing?

The court will not order parties to undertake paternity testing for the sake of satisfying one party’s interest or suspicions, rather the court will only make orders for paternity testing when the results of the paternity test have some effect on the proceedings (such as an impact on the questions of parenting or child support related issues).

The party who is seeking orders be made for the test, must demonstrate they have a reasonably held doubt as to the paternity of the child.

A court can order parties to undergo paternity testing:

a)       on its own initiative;

b)       pursuant to an application of a party to proceedings; or

c)       pursuant to an application of an independent children’s lawyer representing the child’s interest.

What if the other party refuses to undergo a test after being ordered to?

If a party refuses to undergo a parentage test when the court has ordered them to do so, the court may draw such inferences as appear just in the circumstances.

For example, the court can draw the inference that the refusing party is in fact the parent of the child, provided this is consistent with other evidence before the court.